Mindfulness and Photography
Recently photography has been tough because I am struggling with mental and physical issues. Whilst doing some research I came across the terms contemplative photography and mindful photography and it made me want to know more about it.
As I feel like I am in a creative fog and haven’t really found what it is I want to do for my FMP that really excites me, I felt there was no harm in having a look at some different subjects. I felt I needed to kick-start my creativity, as I had so much self doubt due to my low mood. I found lots of articles and books but I think what I take from it is as follows.
An individual needs to stop putting pressure on themselves to get a certain picture at a certain place at a certain time, and it is more about stopping for a moment to actually see what is going on around you, and not just looking but seeing, to allow yourself to breathe and not feel pressured, and once you have taken everything in then start taking some images.
Perhaps in a loose way it can be linked to Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment. You have to be able to properly see what it is you are focusing on to really make the connection and decided to commit that moment for eternity in an image.
I had been putting so much pressure on myself to find my subject, to make images of what I thought I should be doing I wasn’t even enjoying any of it. I was just trying to achieve a goal and not doing it successfully because it wasn’t about anything it was of something!!
I read an article with a viewpoint from a counsellor who advised that sometimes it isn’t so much about the photography which is beneficial but also the walk to get to it, the journey to get to the place to get the image is also part of the therapeutic benefits.
So over the next couple of weeks I have decided to try these techniques, and the activities in Zen Camera and the Practice of Contemporary Photography and see where it takes me, and also to read a bit more about the subject as a whole.
Karr, A. and Wood, M. (2011). The practice of contemplative photography. Boston, Mass: Shambhala.
Ulrich, D. (2018). Zen Camera. New York. Watson-Guptill